ZIMBABWE’s economy is expected to remain on an upward growth trend during the remainder of the year, with the Gross Domestic product (GDP) expected to peak to 7,8% from the 2021 National Budget projections of 7,4%, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has said.

Presenting the Mid-Term Budget Review in the National Assembly Thursday afternoon, Ncube said there has been a significant decline in inflation of over 700% from 837% in July 2020 to 106,6% in June, 2021 owing to several reasons among these, the fiscal and monetary consolidation measures being implemented by government.

Ncube also attributed the growth rate on good rains received during the last season, higher international mineral prices, a stable macro-economic environment and Covid-19 pandemic response measures, including the vaccination programme.

“The strong rebound of the economy is anchored on a better 2020/21 rainfall season, higher international mineral commodity prices, stable macroeconomic environment and COVID-19 pandemic response measures, including vaccination program.  Higher growth rates are projected in agriculture, electricity generation, accommodation and food services, as well as financial services,” Ncube said.

 

The July year-on-year inflation stands at 56,37% and 2,56% for month-on-month inflation whilst month-on-month inflation is expected to remain stable at less than 3% during the second half of the year.

“Annual inflation is expected to decline further by the end of August 2021 and further to between 22% and 35% by December, 2021. Mr Speaker Sir, the current price and exchange rate stability will go a long way in supporting industry in making long term investment decisions and allow for the efficient allocation of resources. In this regard, the Treasury and the Central Bank will continue to pursue strong monetary and fiscal policies that sustain the current dis-inflationary path,” Ncube added.

The period Jan-June 2021 saw revenues estimated at $198,2 billion, whilst expenditures were about $197,6 billion, resulting in an almost balanced budget position, with a small surplus of ZWL$570 million.

The country’s external sector position has remained strong in support of the country’s balance of payments requirements, as well as stabilising the exchange rate.

“Notwithstanding the transitory current account deficit realized during the first quarter of 2021, the current account balance for 2021 is projected to remain in a surplus position, albeit at a moderated level of US$611.6 million, compared to US$1 096 million recorded in 2020. As at end December 2020, total Public and Publicly Guaranteed external debt including RBZ external guaranteed debt amounted to US$10.5 billion, representing 71.2% of GDP. External debt arrears alone make up over US$6.5 billion (77%) of total external debt.”

Overall expenditures during the period January to June 2021 stood at $197,6 billion, implying expenditures were above the half year target of $189,8 billion by $7,8 billion. 31. Major expenditures were on Compensation of Employees at $80 billion against a target of $73,8 billion and Non-Financial Assets (capital budget) at $67,4 billion against a target of $58 billion

The country’s diaspora remittances continue to stabilise the economy as seen by an increase between January and June 2021 where the country received US$746,9 million in diaspora remittances compared to US$288,7 million received during the same period last year.

Ncube said the remittances are projected to continue to drive the current account surplus in 2021, with end year projection of US$1,3 billion.

Source: NZ《》RT

 

The Ministry of Finance has released a further 500 million kwacha for the Food Reserve Agency -FRA- 2021 Crop Purchasing Programme.

Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Songowayo Zyambo has told NAIS that the release of this money brings the total funds, disbursed to the agency for crop buying programme for this year, to 1 point 1 billion kwacha.

Zyambo further says the FRA has so far already bought more than 2-hundred thousand Metric Tons of Maize.

He says if the old stock is added to the new tonnage, the total Maize in the national strategic reserves is now more than 500,000 Metric Tons, which is a very safe national food security status for the Zambia.

Zyambo says the Ministry of Agriculture is very happy with the way the FRA Maize Buying Programme is progressing this year.

He has assured farmers that will continue paying farmers cash for the Maize delivered.

Source: NAIS《》RT

 

By Hector Simfukwe

President Edgar Lungu says government is willing to revisit some taxes in order to support the Agriculture sector.

The Head of State says government will consider waving taxes on agriculture equipment such as onion driers.

President Lungu says his government does not want the country to be importing crops which can be grown locally.

The President says those who wanted to arm twist government over the shortage of onions will not succeed because the state will not reverse the ban.

He says government will instead empower local farmers so that they meet the demand without challenges.

President Lungu says government values the farmers and will help them to grow their businesses.

He said this when he toured Tara farms in Kabwe.

And President Lungu has challenged the ministry of Agriculture to help local farmers that want to invest in tree crops such as oranges.

President Lungu said the country cannot continue importing crops which can be grown locally.

He said several commercial farmers have shown that they can satisfy the market if supported.

The President said there is no way Zambia should be competing with countries that are far away for the Democratic Republic of Congo -DRC- market.

He said local farmers should take advantage of the DRC market by growing quality crops.

Source: ZNBC《》RT

The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) is elated with the continued appreciation of the Kwacha against the United States dollar.

PMRC Executive Director Bernadette Zulu said over the past week, the country has witnessed the appreciation of the Kwacha, the highest in its history at a rate of 5.6 percent from K22.69 on July 12 to K21.41 on July 23, 2021.

Mrs. Zulu said despite the negative impact of the pandemic, notable shifts in the market have triggered the appreciation of the Zambian Kwacha.

“According to the Bank of America, it is anticipated that copper prices could reach as high as US$20,000 per metric ton by 2025 amid the widening supply and demand deficits due to the United States led global economic rebound that would boost demand for metals used in manufacturing and construction industries,” she stated.

Mrs. Zulu explained that the foreign earnings from copper exports are a critical factor that will strengthen the local currency as the global economy continues to recover from the pandemic.

She further said copper will play a big role in the post Covid-19 recovery since countries are looking to permanently shift from fuel combustion powered vehicles to electric powered automobiles meant to reduce global carbon emissions.

Mrs. Zulu explained that at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, global economies experienced instability due to reduced trade and restricted movements.

“In the same year, the global economy was projected to contract by 4.9 percent while Zambia’s economy projected a 4.2 percent contraction owing to the pandemic, climate change as well as the volatility in copper prices, which greatly weakened the Zambian Kwacha,” she said.

She said as of December 2019, the Zambian Kwacha was trading at K14.05 before it depreciated to trade at K22.69 against the United States Dollar as of 12th July 2021.

She added that the government’s recent acquisition of Mopani Copper Mines places Zambia in a position to benefit from the higher copper prices on the global market, a situation she said is another notable factor for improved trade volumes.

She added that the appreciation of the Kwacha is further attributed to the improvements in supply associated with the forthcoming International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation.

Mrs Zulu further noted that improved prospects of a formal Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme with the IMF has attracted growth in the demand for government securities and bonds.

The PMRC Executive Director hoped that the current appreciation of the Kwacha will lead to the reduction in the cost of doing business and consequently a decline in the prices of major commodities.

“The gains in the Zambian Kwacha must be sustained by more investment in the backward and forward linkages in the agricultural sector through the investment in agro-processing, research and development as well as enhanced extension services in the sector as a viable earner of FOREX and driver of the economy,” Mrs. Zulu explained.

“The demand and supply factors that have led to the appreciation of the Zambian Kwacha are as a result of the government’s efforts in achieving macro-economic stability through current account sustainability as enshrined in the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP 2020-2023),” she said.

Source: LT《》RT

The Economics Association of Zambia -EAZ has projected that the Kwacha may in the next three weeks trade around 15 kwacha to one US dollar.

EAZ President LUBINDA HAABAZOKA also says the rebound of the currency is due to investor confidence in the management of the country’s economy.

Dr. HAABAZOKA says the situation has led to an increase in the demand for Zambia’s bonds by foreign investors.

He has additionally attributed the surge of the local currency to an improvement in the administration of mine tax.

Dr. HAABAZOKA told ZNBC news that the bumper harvest of agriculture products has also made a positive impact on the local currency.

Meanwhile EAZ Vice President AUSTIN MWANGE has dispelled claims that the appreciation of the KWACHA is a fluke.

Dr. MWANGE has justified that the recent increase of copper prices on the London Metal Exchange is among many factors that have triggered the appreciation of the KWACHA.

He said the KWACHA is further projected to appreciate as a result of the escalated economic activities in the country.

Source: ZNBC《》RT

 

By Brian Mwale

Midlands ZAM-MAL Oil Petroleum, a local fuel supply company with a footprint in Malawi is optimistic that the appreciation of the kwacha against the US dollar will help reduce the cost of doing business for some firms.

Midlands ZAM-MAL Chief Executive Officer Charles Mvula says the appreciation of the kwacha means companies like his will use less kwacha to purchase dollars for imports.

Mvula has welcomed the development and anticipates a further improvement in the performance of the kwacha.

He has also appealed to government’s financial and economic advisors to continue finding ways of further strengthening the kwacha against major convertible currencies.

Mvula spoke in an interview with ZNBC News in Lusaka.

And Mvula has called on government to find ways of promoting local entrepreneurs involved in producing of import substitutes.

He says producing more of import substitutes will help lessen imports which will in-turn strengthen the local currency against the kwacha.

Source: ZNBC《》RT

 

By Aaron Chiyanzo in Chikankata

Zambia is now on secure energy footing with electricity generation capacity of 3, 600 megawatts against national consumption of 2, 300 megawatts, President Edgar Lungu has said.

President Lungu said the PF government had increased power generation in the country by 70 percent with the introduction of over 1, 300 megawatts into the national grid from different power generation projects.

The project has created 4, 000 jobs.

President Lungu was speaking during the commissioning of the 150 megawatts first unit of the 750 megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station being constructed at a cost of US$2.3 billion.

“When we formed government, we identified the need to invest in infrastructure…. We have made tough but worth well decisions along this route. Economic gains will benefit the country and outlive all of us,” he said.

President Lungu said in its quest to ensure that power supply in the country was in tandem with the demand, the PF government upgraded the Lunzua Power Station from seven megawatts to 14 megawatts, Musonda Falsl Station from five to 10 megawatts, the Lusiwasi Lower from six megawatts to 86 megawatts and commissioned the 120 megawatts Itezhi-Tezhi Power Station.

Meanwhile, Zesco managing director Victor Mundende said such projects could only be done when there was serious leadership in the country.

“These come with great challenges but with focused leadership you pull through and we did just that,” he said.

And Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Lie Ji applauded the cooperation between Zambia and China, saying that there were over 600 Chinese companies with billions of investments in the country.

Source: Daily Nation《》RT

By Lucky Phiri

The Fourth Mobile Network Service Provider Beeline Telecom Limited, a Zambian Firm has completed it’s network design plan and is expected to start operating on June 1, 2022.

This follows several engagements held between the company and the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority -ZICTA – after it was awarded an operating licence early this year.

ZICTA Director Technology and Engineering Mwenya Mutale says Beeline has delayed to hit the airwaves due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mutale said this when he accompanied a team of board members touring various communication network towers the authority has constructed in partnership with Zamtel in Eastern Province.

He said the authority has also invested in a state-of-the-art equipment to monitor the quality of services for mobile service providers in various areas.

Mutale said the regulatory body is concerned with complaints by some people in the province regarding poor Network services from some Mobile Network Operators.

And ZICTA Universal Access and Service Fund Manager Collins Chomba said 2-hundred and 29 Mobile network towers have been erected in rural communities countrywide to enhance communication.

Meanwhile, ZICTA Board Chairperson Frighton Sichone directed the authority to ensure the constructed towers are upgraded to enhance service delivery to the people.

Source: ZNBC《》RT

 

Former Energy Minster Matthew Nkhuwa says the ruling PF has scored another milestone on the development front with the commissioning of the first unit at Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Power station.

Nkhuwa who served as Energy Minister for four years says the power stations was one of the key areas government wanted to complete and it has managed to do so.

He says the commissioning of the 150 megawatts unit one of the five, at Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro Power Station brings more energy to the national grid.

Nkhuwa adds that the project will boost electricity supply in Zambia and the SADC region.

He says President Edgar Lungu ensured that the Ministry of Energy worked hard for the project to be delivered to Zambians.

Nkhuwa has told ZNBC News in an interview that Zambia is now an electricity hub that other neighbouring countries will greatly benefit from the project.

He said it is evident that government under President Lungu has delivered to the people of Zambia in the energy sector regardless of the climate challenges faced in the recent years.

Source: ZNBC《》RT

 

By Russell Kondowe

Malawi has received 192,000 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine.

The vaccine has arrived in the country through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on Saturday.

Within the next two months, the country is expected to receive 1,345, 600 doses of assorted Covid-19 vaccines. A consignment of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in August and another consignment of Pfizer/Binotec COVID-19 vaccine will arrive end August early September.

According to Ministry of Health, vaccine distribution to all the districts will start on Sunday and it is expected that by Wednesday all the vaccination sites in the country will have the vaccines. This means the vaccination exercise which paused last month will resume this week.

Deputy Minister of Health, Chrissie Kanyasho, has since urged people to access the vaccines so that the doses should not expire.

The country started its vaccination programme in March after receiving about 510,000 doses. In April this year, Malawi destroyed over 16,000 doses of vaccine which got expired.

Cumulatively, 385,242 and 43,165 people have received the first dose and second dose respectively. A total of 428,407 vaccine doses has been administered in the country so far.

Source: M24《》RT

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